The SRO Motorsports Group America series traveled to the beautiful and fast VIRginia International Raceway (VIR) this past weekend for rounds five and six of the championship, with races for GT World Challenge, GT4 America, GT America, and TC America. The various SRO series have more BMWs entered than any other pro series out there, with M4 GT3s, M4 GT4s, M2 CS, and M240i cars all taking to the track, and many of them were successful at VIR.
In GT World Challenge, Turner Motorsport had the best weekend of their year so far in this series, with a pair of second-place finishes in the Pro class for Robby Foley and Michael Dinan, driving the #96 M4 GT3. The weekend got off to a rough start with an accident in practice, but the team was able to get the car back together for the races and kept it clean to finish on the podium in both races behind the winning #1 Lamborghini, as other cars dropped out due to accidents or attrition.
BimmerWorld also had another strong weekend in GT World Challenge, with a second-place finish in the Pro/Am class in race two for Bill Auberlen and Chandler Hull, driving the #94 M4 GT3. “Chandler did a fantastic job and killed it, getting us up to second place in a crazy crash-filled race,” said Auberlen on social media after the race. “Our M4 GT3 ran perfectly. Now it’s time for the top step of the podium in the next race.” It was the pair’s fourth podium of the year. Auberlen was a victim of some over-exuberant driving in race one, as Colin Braun made an aggressive move in his Mercedes and knocked him off the track, which Braun was quickly penalized for.
ST Racing was also entered in the Pro/Am class at VIR with drivers Samantha Tan and Nick Wittmer in the #38 M4 GT3, but they never made it to the end of the first race. Tan was involved in a high-speed wreck while going through VIRs famous esses when the two cars in front of her hit their brakes in a spot that is normally flat out. She hit the brakes to avoid the car in front of her, but was then rear-ended by the Acura running behind her. With a lack of parts to repair the car, the team was forced to sit out the second race of the weekend.
In GT4 America, the duo of John Capestro-Dubets and Tom Capizzi won race one in their #52 Auto Technic Racing M4 GT4 in the hotly contested Pro/Am class. “We had a lot of great drivers coming for it, and we just had to stay up front,” said Capestro-Dubets after the race. “Honestly, with the heat through practice, we didn’t think we’d be up here today. When the weather played back into our hands and the car started working again, smiles were on our face, and we took it to the front and did everything we could to stay.”
The BimmerWorld duo of James Clay and Charlie Postins also continued their success in the GT4 Am class, winning both races in the #36 M4 GT4. “Really, I think this is about being a home race,” said Clay. “BimmerWorld is located about two-and-a-half hours away, we have the whole BimmerWorld family here, a bunch of our coworkers, and to me it’s about winning the home race and it’s been fantastic to do so today.” It was the duo’s fourth win of the season in six races, which puts them in the lead in the championship.
Rooster Hall Racing drivers Todd Brown and Johan Schwartz finished second in the Am class behind the BimmerWorld drivers in race two, while the Auto Technic duo of Austen Smith and Zac Anderson scored a third-place podium finish in the silver class in their #51 M4 GT4. There are also two M4 GT4s entered by SRQ Motorsports in the GT4 class of the GT America series, which holds single-driver races and mixes GT3 and GT4 machinery in the same race. Marko Radisic had a strong seventh-place finish in race two, in a class of eighteen cars.
In the TC America series, the TCX class championship (which is an all-M2-CS class) has seen some great battles as defending champion Jacob Ruud of Fast Track Racing seeks another championship, but is facing more of a fight than last season. Colin Garrett of Rooster Hall Racing won the first race at VIR, followed by Stephen Cugliari of Accelerating Performance and Lucas Catania of Rigid Speed, as Ruud finished sixth after a miscommunication brought him into the pits. Ruud bounced back to take the win in race two, with Cugliari in second and Garrett in third. Ruud leads the championship, followed by Catania and Garrett in the driver points.
In the TC class, Clay Williams finished on the podium in third in his MINI JCW for the MINI JCW Team, while teammate Christian Perocarpi finished third in the TCA class in his MINI in race two. The SRO championships head to Watkins Glen, New York for the seventh and eighth rounds of the series on the weekend of July 22nd-24th. —David Haueter
[Photos courtesy SRO, BMW]